Tropical Tailoring

May 7th, 2014

As I mentioned recently, after moving to LA my suiting game has taken on a slightly different form. More lightweight. More laidback. More tropical.

The moral of the story here: there’s much more to tailoring than standard wool business suits. You can be sharply tailored in any climate.

Here’s some examples for all you warm weather readers.

    1. Linen on Seersucker


    This is about as lightweight as a suited look can get.

    Lightweight linen suit in a natural color (unlined jacket and trousers), seersucker shirt, no socks.


    The shirt is also secretly short-sleeved. I have no problem wearing it with a tie, as long as the sleeves are trim and short enough (mid bicep) and the tie is lighthearted and not to corporate looking.

    This floral cotton tie is by one of my new favorite tie brands: Dolbeau – handmade in the motherland of Canada.


    When you’re casually suited your belt should lean casual as well, like this leather-trimmed braided cotton version.


    2. Madras on Linens


    This navy pure linen was one of my first bespoke suits. I was still playing college ball (and lifting twice a day) when I got measured for it, so it fits a little looser than some of my more recent suits. But I like my linens that way; easy and breezy.

    The white mother of pearl buttons give it a slightly more summery feel and, of course, it’s completely unlined (just one thin layer of linen all around).


    I found this shirt in a dusty vintage warehouse. I think I paid $5 for it. If you look closely you can see the cuffs are fraying, and the collar buttons have been ripped off. A little character on linen only adds to its charm, in my opinion.

    I just realized that all three ties in this article are by Dolbeau, including this awesome Japanese cotton patchwork.


    Suede bucks (preferably with a sharp toe box) are a great match for a summer suit in warm climates. A little less corporate, a little more leisurely, and all the way gentlemanly.


    3. Linen, Chambray & Cotton


    Ok, I cheated. This look was previously featured here in WIWT (click for clothing credits and details). Give me a break, we’ve been busy in the think tank with our developers… Big things coming up for Articles of Style!

    It was actually this look, and the comments from some of our readers, that inspired this post.


    Even in the warmer months you can, and should, experiment with textures.

    The suit is chocolate linen, the shirt is lightweight chambray, the tie is waxed cotton, the loafers are oiled suede, the socks are ribbed cotton/cashmere, and the pocket square is raw silk.



      Thanks, as always, for reading.

      Yours in style,

      Dan Trepanier

      Photography by Alex Crawford 

      • Matto

        Love it – love all of it. Very similar sort of climate to here.

      • Paul Evans

        can’t go wrong with linen! looks great. we need to get you new shoes though.

      • Michael Gray

        Love the floral tie.It’d be great with some lightwash jeans and Nike classics (or stan smiths–solid white). A tropical nod to the nineties.

      • Koska23

        Killed it in look #2. Love the tie and socks.

      • BougieHippie

        Brilliant ties and genius shoes on the second look. This post may just keep me from slipping into my fav summer uniform- DryFit.

        • Dan Trepanier

          Preserve the sexy!

      • Julia

        Just discovered your blog, looooove your articles, such inspiraitons! i would have prefered a different pair of shoes

        • Dan Trepanier

          Thanks Julia. We could probably use a woman’s perspective around here

      • Miguel

        Great article Dan, I’ve always loved Linen.
        You make it look easy.

      • Harrison G

        Great article dan, I was curious how difficult is it to take the lining out of a jacket? Is it an expensive alteration?

        • Dan Trepanier

          Difficult and expensive to do it properly. Talk to your tailor, he may be able to do something creative.

          • Harrison G

            What would be the difference in getting a partially lined opposed to unlined jacket? Will a completely unlined jacket by default be far more casual and less structured? Thanks for the advice.

      • Herbert Morrison

        Off the hook, as per.

      • Alex G.

        as floral shirts, floral ties should disappear too (I find them all a little bit too much)

        and even though I’m from South America, a short sleeve shirt is always a no-no: better having a long sleeve linen shirt for those sultry nights…

        • Juan

          I used to think this too, but then found a 1958 picture of my grandfather in a short-sleeved linen shirt and tie that just proved me wrong.

          It was actually a pretty common practice in the 40s through the 60s, back when men used to always be well-dressed, but didn’t feel like dying of heat.

          And I don’t know where from in South America you’re from, but I can assure you in Buenos Aires, where I’m from, the humidity makes it damn near impossible to wear long-sleeved clothing (linen or not) in the summer.

          • Alex G.

            Juan, my grandpa used to wear short-sleeved shirts and tie too (I also have pictures of him during carnival parties wearing that combo). During the 40’s late 50’s that was a statement related to the then ubiquitous “guayaberas”.
            I don’t romanticize any period of time and I still don’t believe in the short-sleeved shirts and suit combo. In Lima, where I’m from, humidity can reach 90% (with sultry 90F) and people still wear long-sleeved shirts.

            • Juan

              To each his own I guess, I for one can’t wait for the weather to get a little warmer here in the ever-grey Milan to break out those short sleeves.
              Cheers brother!

              • Alex G.

                Saludos desde DC

      • Robert Booth

        This is perfect for me – Im moving to Malaysia in October and dreading (but partially very excited for) the tropical climate. Coming from Dublin, there is no way im going to be ready for 90 degree heat all year round. All my clothes are going into storage and its a case of starting from scratch with short sleeves and linen all round. Great article to get me started!!!

        • Dan Trepanier

          Enjoy my man.

      • Daniel C.

        Killin’ it with the linen suit and floral tie. Extra points for short sleeve shirts!

      • Steven

        Dan – how were you able to bring the pants in look one back from the dead?

      • Shawn

        Excellent article! Gotta love an all-linen unlined and unstructured suit!